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How to eliminate DiscoveryHandler adware?

Also Known As: Ads by DiscoveryHandler
Type: Mac Virus
Damage level: Medium

What kind of application is DiscoveryHandler?

DiscoveryHandler is designed to display annoying advertisements and promote a fake search engine. It has the qualities of both advertising-supported software and a browser hijacker. Users download and install apps like DiscoveryHandler unknowingly. For this reason, they fall into the category of potentially unwanted applications (PUAs).

DiscoveryHandler adware

DiscoveryHandler adware in detail

DiscoveryHandler displays advertisements (for example, pop-ups, banners, coupons). Its ads can promote websites designed to trick users into downloading and installing PUAs, providing sensitive information. Those ads could also be capable of downloading and installing dubious programs.

Moreover, DiscoveryHandler changes the default search engine, homepage, and new tab page to a fake search engine. It hijacks a web browser by changing its settings. Fake search engines cannot be trusted - their search results can be used to promote shady pages. Also, they can open untrustworthy pages.

Threat Summary:
Name Ads by DiscoveryHandler
Threat Type Adware, Mac malware, Mac virus
Detection Names Avast (MacOS:Adload-AG [Adw]), Combo Cleaner (Gen:Variant.Adware.MAC.AdLoad.13), ESET-NOD32 (A Variant Of OSX/Adware.Synataeb.G), Kaspersky (Not-a-virus:HEUR:AdWare.OSX.Adload.h), Full List (VirusTotal)
Additional Information This application belongs to Adload malware family.
Symptoms Your Mac becomes slower than normal, you see unwanted pop-up ads, you are redirected to dubious websites.
Distribution methods Deceptive pop-up ads, free software installers (bundling), fake Flash Player installers, torrent file downloads.
Damage Internet browser tracking (potential privacy issues), display of unwanted ads, redirects to dubious websites, loss of private information.
Malware Removal (Mac)

To eliminate possible malware infections, scan your Mac with legitimate antivirus software. Our security researchers recommend using Combo Cleaner.
▼ Download Combo Cleaner for Mac
To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

DiscoveryHandler adware in general

DiscoveryHandler is an untrustworthy application capable of serving unwanted ads and changing web browser's settings. It is similar to OfficialDesign, ChangingSystem, MultiProject, and plenty of other apps. Most users install them unintentionally.

How did DiscoveryHandler install on my computer?

Users download and install adware through downloaders and installers for other programs, deceptive advertisements, fake installers. Downloaders and installers used to distribute adware usually have "Custom", "Advanced", or other settings. Users allow for adware to be installed when they do not use those settings to deselect bundled apps.

Advertisements can download or install unwanted software if they are designed to execute certain scripts and users click on them. Fake installers get downloaded from untrustworthy pages using scare tactics or other methods to trick users into downloading those installers.

How to avoid installation of potentially unwanted applications?

Avoid using unofficial pages or other unreliable sources for downloading software (or files). Use official pages and direct links for that. Also, avoid clicking on ads that appear on dubious pages. Check downloaders and installers for optional downloads or installations and deselect them before downloading or installing software.

If your computer is already infected with DiscoveryHandler, we recommend running a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus for macOS to automatically eliminate this adware.

Pop-up that appears after the installation of DiscoveryHandler adware:

discoveryhandler adware pop-up displayed after installation

DiscoveryHandler's Contents folder:

discoveryhandler adware contents folder

Instant automatic Mac malware removal: Manual threat removal might be a lengthy and complicated process that requires advanced computer skills. Combo Cleaner is a professional automatic malware removal tool that is recommended to get rid of Mac malware. Download it by clicking the button below:
▼ DOWNLOAD Combo Cleaner for Mac By downloading any software listed on this website you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.

Quick menu:

Video showing how to remove DiscoveryHandler adware using Combo Cleaner:

DiscoveryHandler adware removal:

Remove DiscoveryHandler-related potentially unwanted applications from your "Applications" folder:

mac browser hijacker removal from applications folder

Click the Finder icon. In the Finder window, select "Applications". In the applications folder, look for "MPlayerX", "NicePlayer", or other suspicious applications and drag them to the Trash. After removing the potentially unwanted application(s) that cause online ads, scan your Mac for any remaining unwanted components.

Remove ads by discoveryhandler related files and folders:

Finder go to folder command

Click the Finder icon, from the menu bar. Choose Go, and click Go to Folder...

step1Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from launch agents folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from launch agents folder step 2
In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step2Check for adware generated files in the /Library/Application Support folder:

removing adware from application support folder step 1

In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/Application Support

removing adware from application support folder step 2
In the “Application Support” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious folders. For example, “MplayerX” or “NicePlayer”, and move these folders to the Trash.

step3Check for adware-generated files in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents folder:

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 1


In the Go to Folder bar, type: ~/Library/LaunchAgents

removing adware from ~launch agents folder step 2

In the “LaunchAgents” folder, look for any recently-added suspicious files and move them to the Trash. Examples of files generated by adware - “installmac.AppRemoval.plist”, “myppes.download.plist”, “mykotlerino.ltvbit.plist”, “kuklorest.update.plist”, etc. Adware commonly installs several files with the same string.

step4Check for adware-generated files in the /Library/LaunchDaemons folder:

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 1
In the Go to Folder... bar, type: /Library/LaunchDaemons

removing adware from launch daemons folder step 2
In the “LaunchDaemons” folder, look for recently-added suspicious files. For example “com.aoudad.net-preferences.plist”, “com.myppes.net-preferences.plist”, "com.kuklorest.net-preferences.plist”, “com.avickUpd.plist”, etc., and move them to the Trash.

step 5 Scan your Mac with Combo Cleaner:

If you have followed all the steps in the correct order you Mac should be clean of infections. To be sure your system is not infected run a scan with Combo Cleaner Antivirus. Download it HERE. After downloading the file double click combocleaner.dmg installer, in the opened window drag and drop Combo Cleaner icon on top of the Applications icon. Now open your launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon. Wait until Combo Cleaner updates it's virus definition database and click "Start Combo Scan" button.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-1

Combo Cleaner will scan your Mac for malware infections. If the antivirus scan displays "no threats found" - this means that you can continue with the removal guide, otherwise it's recommended to remove any found infections before continuing.

scan-with-combo-cleaner-2

After removing files and folders generated by the adware, continue to remove rogue extensions from your Internet browsers.

Ads by DiscoveryHandler removal from Internet browsers:

safari browser iconRemove malicious extensions from Safari:

Remove ads by discoveryhandler related Safari extensions:

safari browser preferences

Open Safari browser, from the menu bar, select "Safari" and click "Preferences...".

safari extensions window

In the preferences window, select "Extensions" and look for any recently-installed suspicious extensions. When located, click the "Uninstall" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Safari browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Safari.

firefox browser iconRemove malicious plug-ins from Mozilla Firefox:

Remove ads by discoveryhandler related Mozilla Firefox add-ons:

accessing mozilla firefox add-ons

Open your Mozilla Firefox browser. At the top right corner of the screen, click the "Open Menu" (three horizontal lines) button. From the opened menu, choose "Add-ons".

removing malicious add-ons from mozilla firefox

Choose the "Extensions" tab and look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Remove" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Mozilla Firefox browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Mozilla Firefox.

chrome-browser-iconRemove malicious extensions from Google Chrome:

Remove ads by discoveryhandler related Google Chrome add-ons:

removing malicious google chrome extensions step 1

Open Google Chrome and click the "Chrome menu" (three horizontal lines) button located in the top-right corner of the browser window. From the drop-down menu, choose "More Tools" and select "Extensions".

removing malicious Google Chrome extensions step 2

In the "Extensions" window, look for any recently-installed suspicious add-ons. When located, click the "Trash" button next to it/them. Note that you can safely uninstall all extensions from your Google Chrome browser - none are crucial for normal browser operation.

  • If you continue to have problems with browser redirects and unwanted advertisements - Reset Google Chrome.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What harm can adware cause?

Software of this type can diminish the web browsing experience, make a computer (and browser) work slower, and cause similar issues.

What does adware do?

The main purpose of advertising-supported software is to display advertisements. However, it can have additional features - it can hijack a web browser and collect information.

How do adware developers generate revenue?

They monetize adware by promoting various websites, products, services, and so on. A big part of the money comes from affiliate programs.

Will Combo Cleaner remove DiscoveryHandler adware?

Yes, Combo Cleaner will scan your computer and eliminate all adware-type applications installed. If removed manually, adware may have some of its components present and running even after the removal. Therefore, it is recommended to remove adware using specialized software.

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

Tomas Meskauskas - expert security researcher, professional malware analyst.

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of over 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an author and editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay informed about the latest online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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Removal Instructions in other languages
Malware activity

Global malware activity level today:

Medium threat activity

Increased attack rate of infections detected within the last 24 hours.

QR Code
Ads by DiscoveryHandler QR code
Scan this QR code to have an easy access removal guide of Ads by DiscoveryHandler on your mobile device.
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Platform: macOS

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To use full-featured product, you have to purchase a license for Combo Cleaner. Limited seven days free trial available. Combo Cleaner is owned and operated by Rcs Lt, the parent company of PCRisk.com read more.